Small marketing teams face a multitude of challenges; chief among them is the ever-growing necessity to automate their day-to-day tasks. Many teams are turning to expensive software platforms in an effort to streamline their services and make campaign management a seamless process.
Unfortunately, many of these tried and true automated tools come with a hefty price tag, often costing marketers thousands of dollars per month. Most smaller marketing teams are not able to afford such steep monthly fees. Thankfully, there are some alternative options which are affordable, easy-to-use, and allow smaller companies the ability to compete in today’s crowded online space.
There are four key areas in which small marketing teams should have some form of automation in order to remain competitive with larger competitors. If your team is looking to automate some of your daily tasks, here are a few things you can automate right away without a huge budget.
1. Email Marketing
Email is an area in which automation becomes essential, both for the sake of customer service and team productivity. If team members are constantly checking and re-checking their emails, responding to queries, and communicating with clients, it can waste valuable working hours. What’s more, managing email marketing campaigns can strike at the heart of a day’s productivity.
Automation addresses these issues, handling all of the minutiae at predetermined times. Affordable automated email platforms allow team members to respond instantly to email queries with pre-written responses. This may be an introductory passage, answers to frequently asked questions, or a timetable stating when a team member will be able to reach out personally.
When it comes to campaign management, email automation platforms can send out messages at predetermined and well-researched times, as well as manage any responses and take note of any bounces or unsubscribes. Just remember, spam laws are strict and becoming stricter, so it’s important to keep your databases updated.
2. Social Media Marketing
When running social media campaigns for clients, it’s important to research and schedule content at the best times for post engagement. This varies by social platform; for example, what might be a perfect time for Facebook may be a slow time for Twitter. Without automation, your team members may spend their entire day creating one post at a time for one platform at a time and researching the best times to post.
There are now many affordable tools that help marketers automate their social media content and publishing. After entering the copy, links, and photos for each post, all social content can be previewed and scheduled to post at any time. As a result, team members can knock out an entire month’s worth of social posting in just a few hours and preview content calendars which are automatically generated as well.
For marketing teams on a budget, this can save your team even more time, providing a clearer picture of your social media campaigns as a whole and their effectiveness.
3. Website or Blog Updates
Updating a website can be time-consuming, and it needs to be strategic. For content such as blog updates, you’ll want to schedule your articles at a time when people will notice. This helps improve clicks and engagement, directing the maximum possible traffic to your site. Without automation, team members must remember to upload blog content at specific times, which can be bothersome when trying to schedule out a day.
Automated tools can help make sure that your content goes live as scheduled. You can even hype up posts or updates to a website so long as they’re scheduled ahead of time. However, if your team tells your audience that specific content will be available on a certain date and at a certain time, it’s important that you make good on that promise. Missing deadlines is one of the fastest ways to lose your customers’ trust.
If you have a big update that you’ve hyped on your website and social media pages and the team member in charge of posting it has a flat tire, a sudden emergency, or just forgets, then your entire brand’s reputation can take a hit. Automated tools help ensure this does not happen.
4. Marketing Lead Management
Incoming leads are a precious commodity in the marketing world, so it’s important to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks. If a marketing team is gathering leads through a landing page or website form, automated tools can log and keep track of them, so that your team can accurately follow up in an attempt to make a sale.
An automated CRM database can log all incoming leads, creating profiles for them which include information such as their names, addresses, phone numbers, businesses, email addresses, preferences, and lead sources.
Manually entering each new lead into such a database can be time-consuming and frustrating. With automated tools, this information is cataloged and stored instantly, granting team members the ability to follow up quickly and start converting those leads into sales.
Automation is the present and future of the marketing landscape. Just because your team is small, does not mean that marketing automation has to pass you by. Think about how you can automate the tasks mentioned above, and you’ll have no problems keeping up with your competition.
Albizu Garcia is CEO and Co-Founder of GAIN, a marketing technology company that automates the social media and content publishing workflow for agencies and social media managers, their clients, and anyone working in teams. Twitter: http://twitter.com/albizu